Jan. 21, 2012
Atlanta – The 13th-ranked Georgia Tech women’s tennis team (0-1) dropped a hard-fought 4-3 match to seventh-ranked Georgia (3-0) in its season opener Saturday afternoon at the Bill Moore Tennis Center in Atlanta.
The Yellow Jackets grabbed an early advantage by winning the doubles point, but couldn’t get the needed singles wins for the team victory.
“It’s early in the season, and for it to be that competitive of a match and a great atmosphere, I was proud of our team today,” head coach Bryan Shelton said. “We could’ve asked for a little more, but not much. It would’ve been nice to leave here with a win. Our team certainly fought hard for it and played well. My hats off to Georgia, they came in here and competed great. They never quit and kept coming after us. We got up a set in all six singles matches. For us not to pull out three is really a credit to them because they played that well under pressure when their backs were against the wall.
“For us, we came close tonight, I’m proud of all our girls,” Shelton added. “We played great doubles, we competed well in singles. Jasmine Minor did a fantastic job. In her first match, playing Georgia, to win in straight sets against a really good opponent, I was really proud of her. Up and down the line, I thought we played with class and played hard. We’re just going to keep working and trying to get better every single day.”
“Jillian and Alex haven’t played that many matches together,” Shelton said. “They didn’t play together throughout most of the fall and played just a little bit together last weekend. They’re very dynamic out on the court. They can both return very well, have a good sense of how to apply pressure at the net, and they have fun out there on the court together. The chemistry is just right and I think the great teams in doubles are the ones that get along well and know how to push each other’s buttons the right way. Those two are really combining well for us at the top.”
Doubles on courts two and three both went down to the wire. The Bulldogs’ pair of Lilly Kimbell and Maho Kowase edged Tech’s team of senior Viet Ha Ngo and sophomore Muriel Wacker on court three, 9-7. The Yellow Jackets’ side of senior Lynn Blau and Elizabeth Kilborn battled to a 9-7 win over Georgia’s 60th-ranked team of Kate Fuller and Lauren Herring at the second position to give Tech an early 1-0 lead.
In singles play, O’Neill, ranked No. 45, claimed the first set from Gullickson, ranked No. 2, 6-2, but the Bulldog senior rallied to take the second two sets and the match. Playing at the second spot of the lineup for the Jackets, senior Caroline Lilley defeated Georgia’s 22nd-ranked Kowase, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, to give Tech a 2-1 lead.
“Nobody works harder than Caroline Lilley,” Shelton said. “She never wants to take a day off. She’s always pushing. She works on her serve more than any other kid I’ve seen. She stays in the gym, she works with strength coach McDonald to always get fitter and stronger, and always trying to find ways to get better. When she gets the results, I always say they’re well deserved because nobody works harder than she does.”
Kilborn fought hard against UGA’s 52nd-ranked Herring, but fell 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 to tie the match at two points apiece. After winning the first set 6-3, Ngo dropped the next two sets as Georgia took a 3-2 team score lead.
Freshman Jasmine Minor battled to a 7-6 first set win and pulled the Yellow Jackets’ level at 3-3 with a 6-4 second set win over Kimbell.
The match came down to the fifth spot of the lineup between Anghelescu and Fuller. Anghelescu battled to a 7-5 first set win. Fuller responded with a 6-2 second set to force a decisive third set, which the Bulldog sophomore claimed 6-2 to give Georgia a 4-3 team victory.
The Yellow Jackets will be back in action Sunday at 12 p.m. when they host the #68 Memphis Tigers (2-0).
Fans are encouraged to follow Georgia Tech women’s tennis on Twitter, @GT_WTEN, and like the Yellow Jackets on Facebook, GTWomensTennis, for an inside look at the program.
#13 Georgia Tech vs. #7 Georgia
Jan. 21, 2012, in Atlanta, Ga.
#7 Georgia 4, #13 Georgia Tech 13
Doubles (Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2)
1. Jillian O’Neill / Alex Anghelescu (GT) def. #2 Chelsey Gullickson / Nadja Gilchrist (UGA), 8-5
2. Lynn Blau / Elizabeth Kilborn (GT) def. #60 Kate Fuller / Lauren Herring (UGA), 9-7
3. Lilly Kimbell / Maho Kowase (UGA) def. Viet Ha Ngo / Muriel Wacker (GT), 9-7
Singles (Order of Finish: (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 5)
1. #2 Chelsey Gullickson (UGA) def. #45 Jillian O’Neill (GT), 2-6, 6-0, 6-3
2. Caroline Lilley (GT) def. #22 Maho Kowase (UGA), 6-2, 4-6, 6-2
3. #52 Lauren Herring (UGA) def. Elizabeth Kilborn (GT), 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
4. Nadja Gilchrist (UGA) def. #106 Viet Ha Ngo (GT), 3-6, 6-3, 6-1
5. #56 Kate Fuller (UGA) def. Alex Anghelescu (GT), 5-7, 6-2, 6-2
6. Jasmine Minor (GT) def. Lilly Kimbell (UGA), 7-6, 6-4
Georgia Tech 0-1, national ranking #13
Georgia 3-0, national ranking #7
— RamblinWreck.com —